*I caught one of pianist Jim Brickman’s recent tour stops during his 20th annual holiday show, Comfort & Joy. That’s also the name of his most recent holiday CD. Yes, I said “most recent.” The man’s released seven holiday CDs over the years. You’d think he’d tire of the genre. After last night’s show, I hope he never does.
Don’t get it twisted: Brickman’s written lots of original songs that will be sung and played for generations, and he performed a few of them last night. But how can anyone be that freaking good at playing the piano and not consider himself first and foremost a pianist???
Brickman is this generation’s Liberace (Google him), a consummate showman and a flesh-and-blood Schroeder from the Peanuts gang who plays the piano with boyish abandon. In concert, he sweeps his fans up in a Yuletide whirlwind of holiday joy.
Brickman’s two hour show included accompaniment by vocalist and Broadway star John Trones, who was one of the night’s very pleasant surprises. I’d never heard of Trones, but when he stood in for Johnny Mathis (who has the guts to do that??) during the show’s second half and delivered a pitch-perfect “Sending You A Little Christmas,” we knew we were in the presence of greatness.
Ever since Brickman gave his original Christmas hit, “The Gift,” to the world well over a decade ago, I haven’t been able to imagine celebrating the Christmas season without his music. Every year, around the time I hear his gorgeous arrangements of songs like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” or “Angels We Have Heard On High,” I’m tempted to buy a baby grand and sign up for piano lessons.
Then I traipse over to a Brickman holiday show, listen to a few more songs, and soberly realize that I simply don’t have enough years ahead of me — let alone raw talent behind me — to ever play them that well, so I am thankful for a Bose stereo, a collection of Jim Brickman holiday CDs, and tickets to see his Christmas show.
And so I offer you this simple thought…
To kids from one to 105…
If Jim Brickman appears in concert near you…
You owe it to yourself to see him live!